SHE is one of the last of her kind, hand crafted to ride some of the world’s most ferocious currents.

For 115 years the Bee has proved her seaworthiness. The clinkered skiff was designed, after all, to withstand the unforgiving waters of the Pentland Firth.

Now the boat – an astonishingly rare Stroma Yole, tailor-made in 1904 for the since abandoned island of the same name – is up for auction.

Stroma, an outpost of Caithness, shared the Nordic maritime heritage of nearby Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

And that includes the use of varying types of yoles, which have been sailed or rowed around the north of Scotland since the people we call Vikings first seized the region in the eighth century.

The Bee is to be sold on behalf of by Sotheby’s next month. Lucy Brown, who heads the auctioneer’s Edinburgh office, explained its fascinating heritage.

She said: “The hull of Bee is one of the last remaining examples of the original Stroma Yoles.

“Sadly, so many wooden boats simply rot away but Bee was built to survive.

“She was purpose-built for her environment; today, the tradition of building boats to suit local conditions has almost vanished, making Bee’s survival even more significant.

“The proceeds from the sale will benefit a maritime trust dedicated to the promotion of seafaring, a fitting

follow-on chapter to Bee’s 100-year history.”

The beneficiary Ms Brown was referring to is the Berwickshire Maritime Trust, which currently uses the Bee to train young people in traditional sailing skills.

But the Bee’s history and heritage is far longer. She shares her cross-section shape and keel-joint construction with Orkney yoles, effectively the working carts of the islands, and the similar Shetland Yoal and Sgoth Niseach of the Outer Hebrides.

Stroma Yoles had to be bigger and heavier than their peers – but still light enough to drag up a beach because Stroma had no harbour.

The island – whose last resident left in 1962 – was famed for a nearby whirlpool, the Swelkie, and the power of its currents, a power that has sparked the imagination of renewable energy giants.

The Bee was the only livestock boat for Stroma and her extra sturdy construction is testament to the weight of supplies and animals that she carried for 40 years.

Strongly constructed using larch planking, oak frames and copper fastenings, Bee is larger than most yoles.

According to the Registry of Fishing Boats in Scotland, she was built by the Banks brothers at Harrow near Mey in 1904. Bee was registered in the port of Wick on 5 May 5, 1912, and was given the registration number WK 378.

The entry for name of owner was “David Sinclair and other residents of Stroma”; the other owners were Hugh Simpson, James Robertson, Matthew Dundas and Sinclair Bremner. All were crofters on the island who required a boat to carry livestock to and from the mainland, across one of the roughest stretches of sea in Europe.

In a book by Anne Houston, called Lest We Forget Canisbay, there is a description of Bee being used to transport a horse to the island.

The charge for transporting a beast was one shilling and it took 12 strong men to load horses or cattle onto the boat, which had to be pulled over by a rope attached to the top of the mast until the gunnel was touching the water, so that the animals could climb aboard.

In 1941, a bull belonging to the Department of Agriculture was being transported back to the mainland aboard Bee when the animal took fright and put its hoof through the bottom of the boat.

The crofters had to return to the island in a hurry and Sutherland Mason, who was a young boy living on the island at that time, remembers all the local families were given a joint of beef.

Sadly, he also remembers Bee lying damaged on the beach at Stroma for many years.The island had its own church, school, shop and post office – and red phone box – and is now a macabre but little visited tourist draw.

The Bee was abandoned until 1968 when she was rescued and bought from the descendants of the original owners for £1. Sotheby’s expects it to fetch at least 10,000 times as much at auction.